Luke Whitelock and Marty Banks return from injury to take on the Blues in Auckland this weekend. However Liam Squire and James Lentjes are both out injured giving Gareth Evans, who entered the game a few minutes into last week’s clash, a start at Number 6. Elliot Dixon will again captain the side this time from openside flanker and Whitelock will complete the new look back row at 8.

Pulse Energy Highlanders Head Coach, Tony Brown, has named a forward-heavy bench with six in the reserves including Aki Seiuli at prop and locks, Jackson Hemopo and Joe Wheeler. Dillon Hunt will cover the loose forwards and make his Super Rugby debut should he take the field. Kayne Hammington and Marty Banks will provide the back cover from the bench.

The match will mark 50 games for the Highlanders for Highlander #197 Joe Wheeler. Wheeler made his debut in 2013.

Pulse Energy Highlanders v Blues - 7.35pm Saturday 11th March, Eden Park, Auckland

  1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
  2. Liam Coltman
  3. Siosuia Halanukonuka
  4. Alex Ainley
  5. Tom Franklin
  6. Gareth Evans
  7. Elliot Dixon ( C )
  8. Luke Whitelock
  9. Aaron Smith
  10. Lima Sopoaga
  11. Tevita Li
  12. Rob Thompson
  13. Malakai Fekitoa
  14. Waisake Naholo
  15. Richard Buckman


  1. Sekonia Pole
  2. Aki Seiuli
  3. Siate Tokolahi
  4. Joe Wheeler
  5. Jackson Hemopo
  6. Dillon Hunt
  7. Kayne Hammington
  8. Marty Banks

Unavailable due to injury: Liam Squire, Shane Christie, Ash Dixon , Dan Pryor, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Ben Smith, Adrian Smith, Josh Dickson, James Lentjes

Out for season: Jason Emery, Hayden Parker



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